A few quick updates on some recent stories.
Saker One Space Probe
I found some color photos of the unit in Play Meter
They even had a flyer.
A little more info on the Saker One.
Play Meter listed the price as $37,500. Given the other info, I suspect this is more accurate than the other articles. You could also sign a two-year lease. You paid a $4,000 security deposit for the first year (which included a maintenance contract), another $2,000 for year 2 and $1,600 a month. There was a $6,000 buyout at the end of the lease.
The article mentions that any Atari 2600 carridge could be played on the unit.
There were plays to release a laser cannon for the unit in August, 1984. They also planned a more sophisticated game where you fought off animated space monsters. Spectators could watch on external monitors. The unit would also rise through a hole in the ceiling to a second level.
Leisure Time Elctronics/Potomac/Fascination
The November 15, 1981 issue of Play Meter had more info about these companies.
After the California ruling, Potomac took steps to clean up its act (or claimed to). They hired a PR director and president David Cook issued a directive to the games division that they should comply with all state laws. They also lowered the price of their games from $3490 to $2990.
More info about Leisure Time: they also failed to deliver games on time. Coast to Coast Locators (the company they recommended to customers) also failed to show up when promised (one customer had to pay for a hotel room for the rep and his girlfriend). Their games were cheap with particle board cabinets. One Moon Lander unit allowed players to get free games by jiggling the joystick.
The most interesting tidbit was the article's claim that the Leisure Time Electronics games were made by none other than Centuri. They even quote Allied/Centuri exec Ivan Rothstein as saying that Leisure Time was "...a reputable company" and that the games should have "no problem" earning $80-100 a week. He also said that Allied/Centuri had been doing business with Leisure Time for 8 years.
I have never heard this before and it seems a bit hard to believe.
One possiblity is that this occured just before Allied Leisure was renamed Centuri.
Allied supposedly showed 3 games at the 1979 AMOA show: Lunar Invasion, Space Bug, and Star Shooter. Could these be the ones they sold to Leisure Time?
Little is known about them. Play Meter descibed Space Bug as a game where you pushed boxes into storage bins.
Finally, a few interesting pictures:
From 1981. The woman in the picture is Anwar Sadat's wife. She's standing in front of a pinball machine. 'll let you all take a guess as to what she's doing.
The Project Support Engineering production line, circa December 1975. Maneater has to be one of the great video game cabinets of all time and I thought it was cool seing a line of them.
A picture from the floor of the $50,000 tournament fiasco of 1981.
A coin-op chess game displayed at the 1982 IMA show (a huge German show).
A Champion Baeball (Sega) parlor in Japan.
Some sources report that the game was as popular there as Space Invaders. An exaggeration but it did have dedicated game parlors.
Chuck E. Cheese and Jasper Jowls taking a break before the opening of the second Pizza Tie Theatre location in San Jose.
Not a video game. Just a coin-op football game that I thought was very cool. From the October, 1975 issue of Vending Times.
The ultimate Pac-Man collectible??
This Pac-Man-shaped rock was displayed by Midway at the 1981 AMOA show. It was done up like a museum display with appropriately stuffy text explaining its history etc.